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Report claims Spike TV has lost nearly 7% of its households in a year

By Zach Arnold | May 31, 2017

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The headline is that ESPN is down 3% year-to-year in the amount of cable/satellite subscriber households. A minor bright spot is that from May to June, household numbers actually slightly increased. Nevertheless, the more interesting story for combat sports fans is what is happening with Spike TV.

The New York Post, citing data from Nielsen ratings, shows Spike losing 7% of pay TV subscriber households in a year-to-year comparison. The TV network is being rebranded as The Paramount Network. It is part of the Viacom family. Viacom has faced some rough seas after a potential reunion with CBS was nixed. Wall Street was not kind in response.

Bellator is owned by Viacom. The health of Viacom means everything for Bellator’s future in terms of how much of a budget there is to spend on producing events. Al Haymon’s PBC is gone from the network even though Spike made a public statement that they would be open to doing business with Haymon in the future if the right deal surfaced.

Even in turmoil, UFC still has the power and resources of Fox Sports to back them up. Fox Sports looks like a hell of a better proposition for the future than ESPN or Spike TV, “time poverty” notwithstanding. One interesting trend noted by Fox Sports point man Michael Mulvihill — Friday nights could becoming more competitive for sports with out-of-home ratings combined with traditional household TV ratings. Bellator has put their stamp on Friday night MMA events the same way UFC has taken over Saturday nights.

Some questions that this latest news raises:

  1. Will Viacom be interested in selling Bellator to a private equity investor group? At what price? How much would time on Friday nights on Spike be valued at?
  2. At what point does Viacom reconsider a reunion with CBS? If the reunion happens, can Scott Coker pull off the kind of magic that Gary Shaw did with Elite XC on CBS?
  3. How will Bellator increase its digital footprint with the traditional Viacom footprint shrinking?
  4. Can Bellator continue to afford getting into an arms race with UFC? (See: Rory MacDonald, Roy Nelson)
  5. What can Bellator and UFC do to expand their reach from being a pay-TV product to having true network appeal?

Topics: Bellator, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 2 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

2 Responses to “Report claims Spike TV has lost nearly 7% of its households in a year”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Viacom is doing some weird stuff right now. They have pulled their channels from basically all of the online skinny bundles. Not sure how they expect to survive long term with that strategy.

  2. Diaz's packed bowl says:


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